Among the egregious claims posited by members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, one resonates as perhaps the most ill-informed dogma of them all: the idea that money is the root of all evil. Not only a misdirected sentiment toward a cause the protestors themselves cannot identify, this notion represents a flippant disregard for both the distinct line between cause and effect and the inherent fallibility of the human condition.
Liberal governments in the last century have been plagued with the underlying trend of personal blamelessness. This mentality has provoked a dangerous fallacy within the minds of many Americans — Occupy Wall Street protestors in particular. Instead of holding themselves accountable, liberals consistently search for an ambiguous (read: Republican) source of blame for policy gone awry — or blindly point to money as their scapegoat. However, the truth steadfastly remains that money is not the cause of corruption; people are.
When one claims money to be the root of evil, the cause of sorrow, he has openly resigned himself as a slave of both product and a mere tool of exchange. Because money is exactly that — a tool. In the same way a wrench is not deemed the source of evil for being used in the construction of a brothel, so money is not the cause of immoral tendencies; money is just a means of mechanics. Money cannot provide someone with desires; it is instead a means of bringing to life what one’s conscience already warrants.
This is not to say that love of money cannot be the root of evil. Love of money can cause someone to commit horrific acts, but, then again, so can lust for power, sex or revenge. The central culprit isn’t money but greed. An obsession with money is surely ignoble, but then again, so is an obsession with anything.
Love, though, can be coupled with money in an honorable manner. Money is the honest product of the mind, a man’s ability to harness his capacity to think and to produce. Making money is often the result of the most righteous and, indeed, American qualities, including ambition, intelligence and drive. Loving the object itself becomes infatuation and can only escalate into dangerous territory. Instead we love and revere the ingenuity and fruits of the mind behind its very existence; surely this is a path to good.
Though cloaked by a sharp cry of hatred for money, the Occupy Wall Street protestors represent, in actuality, the infatuation. Their very rhetoric should logically persuade them against protesting at all; if they indeed hate money, why bother asking for more? Why condemn those who have it? If money were so detestable, a protest centered on it would only further spread the disease.
Thus the entire movement becomes a fraud. Its smallest attempt at a thesis is rendered illogical; the protest conceals a gross infatuation with money and its supposed contribution to corruption. To the protestors, the ideal of making money is meaningless, as are the ethics that lead to it.
Instead, they consider governmental handouts meaningful and worthwhile. But taking governmental handouts — distribution of unearned money — is in fact stealing. It is an evil caused not by money but rather by selfishness. I would wager that, when presented with a dime, an Occupy Wall Street protestor would be quickest to run with it.
Money’s use for corruption stems from the human condition rather than the nature of money. Only when we recognize this can we revitalize the love of the work ethic that drives money’s very existence. Until then, we must acknowledge that whoever describes money as the root of all evil has instead described himself.